All kids are different and their 16th birthday is an opportunity to do something special and create a memorable day.
Many 16-year-olds want something different than a party for various reasons. For example, if they have a small friendship group, if they prefer to celebrate quietly, or if they simply want to spend time following a passion of theirs such as watching their favorite football team.
Fortunately, there are so many great things that you can do to make the day special. Below we’ve listed our top 20 ideas that you can consider. Each idea is different but will help to make it a day to remember for years to come. You could even choose a combination of events, such as a daytime hike followed by a meal at a restaurant and a games night.
1. Music concert
Check to see if any of their favorite bands or music artists have any gigs planned around the time of their 16th birthday. Music means so much to a lot of people so a surprise ticket and trip to a gig can be a really wonderful present that they’ll never forget. Even if they aren’t playing around the time of their birthday you can still get tickets for the future.
2. Go to an amusement park
Amusement parks are full of fun activities for different people and you can take as few or as many people as you like. You don’t have to just love the massive roller coasters either, there’s lots of fun activities to enjoy. If your kid is a Star Wars fan, see if you can take them to the new Star Wars Disneyland and give them a birthday they’ll never forget.
3. Host a games night
Games nights are a fun way to get a few close friends together and create a bonding experience. There are so many options for games, you can choose board games such as Monopoly or Catan, or computer games like Guitar Hero or Mario Kart. Whatever games you pick, remember not to take it too seriously and remember it’s all about having a good time, getting to know people better and creating better friendships
4. Buy special gifts
Don’t forget to treat them to some amazing gifts on their birthday. Sixteen is a landmark year so it can be an opportunity to get them something special. See if there’s anything they’d like that’s more expensive than their usual budget. Take a look at Good Old Gifts to find some really cool ideas for gifts they’ll love.
Getting out and enjoying the great outdoors is a lovely way to spend a 16th birthday. Research popular walks and nature trails in your local area and see if there are any that look fun. If there are any mountains to climb you can take a trip to climb one of the highest and make the birthday a day of real achievement.
If you want to have the full outdoor experience you can spend the night camping with friends. This is a great cheap way to have fun by staying up late telling stories and having a laugh. Just make sure you check the weather and are prepared with plenty of warm clothes!
7. Trip to the Zoo
Everyone loves a trip to the zoo and a birthday party is a great excuse to go and see some amazing animals. Check to see if you have any zoos nearby and what animals they have there. If it’s a large zoo you may have to plan your trip and prioritize which animals you want to see.
8. Laser tag or paintball
Laser tag and paintball are really fun if you have a medium-sized group of friends that can split into two teams and play against each other. This can be exhilarating as teams battle against each other to get the most points and emerge victorious.
9. Watch a sports game
Does your kid have a favorite sports team? If so you could take them to a game and cheer them on. This can be a great bonding experience for a parent and child especially if you usually watch them on TV but don’t go to games often. You can also look at buying souvenirs such as a shirt with their name on after the match.
10. Try an extreme sport
If your kid loves sport or is a thrillseeker then you could do something truly epic and try an extreme sport that you wouldn’t usually do. Search for sports in your area, some ideas you can research are mountain biking, skydiving, canoeing, rock climbing and bungee jumping.
11. Bowling alley
A bowling alley is a good place to go for a birthday gathering. It’s always lighthearted fun and there’s usually more fun things you can do there at the arcade and you can go for a meal afterward.
12. Go-kart racing
They won’t be old enough to drive yet but they can certainly whizz around in a go-cart. Go carting offers a fun racing experience where they can pretend to be f1 drivers and practice their skills for when they get a real car.
13. Meal at a restaurant
Going out for a meal at their favorite restaurant is a great way to spend the evening of a 16th birthday. If you do a more active activity in the day you can look at booking into a restaurant in the evening and treating them to their favorite meal.
A trip to the cinema with friends and family is a good way to spend a birthday. This is better if there’s a new film out that’s part of a series they love, such as a new Harry Potter film or Marvel film. Check online to see what’s on and pay attention to see if your kid mentions their excitement for a new film that’s just come out.
15. Spa day
A spa day is something a bit different and a great way to experience true relaxation. This is great for busy 16-year-olds who are feeling a bit overworked and want to get pampered and get away from it all.
A sleepover is a great alternative for people who don’t want a big party. At a sleepover you can hang out with just your closest friends and stay up playing games, talking for hours and having as much food and drink as you like. Plus it isn’t as cold as a camping trip!
Spending a 16th birthday in a different city or even country can be a lot of fun! It’s an adventurous way to start seeing the world on the way to adulthood. With so many amazing cities in the world, there’s no better time to explore it than now. Take a world map and choose a new unexplored place to visit for the birthday celebrations.
18. Break out of an escape room
Escape rooms have become really popular in the last few years. If you haven’t tried one yet, the concept is simple. A group of people get locked in a room and have to follow clues to find a code to help them escape in a set amount of time. This is a great challenge where people need to work together to find the answer. It’s fun and can be really rewarding if you make it out as a team.
19. Ask them
If you want to give your 16-year-old son or daughter an amazing birthday but aren’t sure what to do, then simply ask them! Sometimes people want to give a surprise, but if in doubt, ask them what they’d like to do. There might be something they really want to do but haven’t said because they think it might be too expensive.
Sometimes money is the most practical option, especially if they’re trying to save for something expensive like a car or an instrument. The money you could save by not spending on a party could go a long way, and if your 16 year old really wants a car then it could be a very helpful alternative.
This content is brought to you by Josh Bruce.